When arthritis of the spine causes symptoms that interfere with everyday activities and quality of life, patients will often visit their doctor for help treating the issue. In many cases, doctors will recommend a treatment plan that includes long-term approaches such as improved nutrition, physical therapy and developing an exercise routine. He or she will also usually recommend treatments like medication to help with the management of aches, pains, stiffness and other symptoms.
Common arthritis medications
Perhaps the most commonly suggested medications for arthritis of the spine symptoms are over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. There are also stronger prescription medications within the NSAID family. These medications work by reducing the inflammation near the arthritic joint, which can help with pain and other symptoms. NSAIDs can be harsh on the stomach, however, as they can cause cramping, stomachaches and other gastrointestinal issues.
If a patient needs a pain reliever but experienced harsh side effects from NSAIDs, or is known to be allergic to aspirin, acetaminophen is another useful over-the-counter medication to use for spinal arthritis. While acetaminophen won’t treat inflammation, it can address pain caused by arthritis without many of the side effects that NSAIDs have. However, people who have a history of liver problems will need to be monitored while taking this medication as it can cause damage to the organ.
Spinal arthritis injections
In very many cases, the above medications provide sufficient relief for patients, but there are some cases in which a doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections directly into the arthritic joints. This procedure can relieve inflammation and pain and restore some mobility to the joint for weeks or months at a time. However, they can also potentially damage the joint over repeated injections. For this reason, such treatments are often limited to only a few per year.
When to consider surgery for spinal arthritis
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and traditional treatments like medication aren’t providing you with the relief that you’ve been seeking, contact USA Spine Care. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is designed to relieve the symptoms associated with spinal arthritis and other degenerative spine problems on an outpatient basis.
We are happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.
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